Church Paying the Bill for Two Lives Shattered by Abuse
By Christopher K. Hepp
March 8, 2002
More than 40 years later, Joe Quarles says, he still remembers his confusion when the new parish priest in Frankford slid his hand down the back of Quarles' pants.
Quarles, now 52, says he was 9 years old and an altar boy at the time.
"I did not know what sex was yet, but I knew it didn't seem right," he said. What followed were a half dozen years of sexual abuse, Quarles said.
John Quinn says he, too, felt trepidation when, as a young teenager, he was taken by a priest to an apartment on the Main Line.
"I didn't know what his intentions were," said Quinn, now 50. "He got me drunk. The room started spinning. . . . He took my pants off and he sodomized me."
Both men say their experiences left them shattered and unable to maintain meaningful relationships. Both are unemployed today. Both have been paid thousands of dollars by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in recent years to cover therapy and other costs. In paying the money, the archdiocese denied legal liability, saying in letters to both men that the compensation was provided "out of charitable concern for your welfare."
Quarles and Quinn stepped forward separately to tell their stories to The Inquirer after the archdiocese last month acknowledged that it had identified 35 priests who, over the last 50 years, had sexually abused minors.
Both men say they are angry that the church has not done more to publicly identify those priests and to compensate victims like themselves.
"What I went through was horrible," Quarles said. "I don't think there is a day that goes by that I don't think about it. I know there are a lot of good priests out there, but that doesn't make up for them hiding what these other priests did all these years."
Said Quinn: "I was an innocent little kid, and all of that was taken away from me by this priest. I'm 50 years old, but deep down inside of me is that little kid, still afraid, still hiding because of what this guy did to me."
Asked about Quinn's and Quarles' accounts, Catherine L. Rossi, director of communications for the archdiocese, responded with the following e-mail: "We think it is inappropriate to comment on the circumstances of any individual who has been involved in an abusive situation. In accordance with our past practice and policy, we will continue to respond to the needs of victims for assistance in their recovery."
Quinn identified his main abuser as the Rev. Charles J. Siegele. Father Siegele, former pastor of St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church in Southwest Philadelphia, died in 1989 at age 60.
Quarles said he was abused by the Rev. Francis Rogers, who now is 83 and lives at Villa St. Joseph, a retirement home for priests in Darby Township. Reached by telephone, Father Rogers acknowledged that he had had sexual relations with Quarles but denied they were as extensive or as early as Quarles contended.
"He was in eighth grade," Rogers said. "He made a comment once that he was 10. That is a lie.
"It may have happened but it was not as prolonged as he says it was," Rogers said. "Naturally, he was young and I was older, so I should have known better. I don't know why it has to come out now. I guess if it does some good, but I don't see how. It will just ruin my reputation."
Quarles, who now lives in West Hollywood, Calif., grew up in Frankford and attended St. Joachim Church.
What follows is his account:
The abuse started shortly after he began serving Mass with Father Rogers.
Eventually, the priest began inviting him to visit his private apartment in the rectory.
"He would offer me alcohol and get me drunk," Quarles said. "I would wake up with no clothes on, not knowing what had happened."
Quarles did not tell anyone what was happening.
"In my family, you never said anything bad about a priest," he said. "I was scared. And I felt guilty, like I was doing something wrong."
Rogers kept inviting Quarles, and Quarles kept going. "He had this hold on me, because he was a priest and because of the alcohol," he said. "He got me to the point where I wanted the alcohol."
The priest took him to dinner at fancy restaurants and on weekend trips to New York to see Broadway plays.
"He treated me like a king in public," he said.
In the summer, Quarles said, Father Rogers would take him to a Shore house at Townsends Inlet, N.J.
"As soon as he would get there, he would start making drinks," Quarles said. Sexual abuse followed.
"I can still smell him, the smell of Tom Collins and the cologne he wore."
Said Quarles: "I remember he followed me back from the beach and he jumped me. . . . He raped me. . . . It was violent. He pulled my hair back, hurting me. . . . While he was doing that, I looked to my left and the only thing I could see was the crucifix. I just kept looking at it."
Quarles said the abuse continued until he was 16.
"I knew it was wrong, and one day I just stopped going to his place," he said. "He kept calling my house, asking for me. I think he was afraid I would tell someone."
Quarles said he told no one of the abuse until the early 1990s, when he entered therapy and gave up drinking.
"That is when it all hit me," he said. "My life was a shambles."
In 1998, Quarles said, he told his story to the Rev. William J. Lynn, secretary for clergy for the archdiocese. After reviewing Quarles' story, Father Lynn agreed that the archdiocese would pay for his counseling, Quarles said. (Efforts to reach Lynn for comment were unsuccessful.)
Told at the time that Father Rogers would be contacted about his allegations, Quarles had one request of the archdiocese: to let him know afterward if the priest apologized.
"They called the next day and said he admitted he had done all the things I said and more. He said he was sorry, that it was something he had been carrying around with him his entire life."
Quarles said that the archdiocese has paid about $65,000 to his therapist since 1998. Quarles later asked for $3 million from the archdiocese. The request was rejected.
John Quinn's life took a downward spiral when he entered the archdiocesan orphanage system in the early 1960s. His parents' marriage had ended, and his mother decided she could not care for him.
"The first orphanage I was in was St. John's at 49th and Wyalusing Avenue," said Quinn, who now lives in Roswell, N.M. "I can still remember that big door closing behind me."
He believes he was about 9 years old at the time.
What follows is Quinn's account:
He said he was first molested by a lay counselor on a trip to a church camp in Egg Harbor, N.J.
"This guy told me he would give me a box of Good & Plenty candy if I would come back to the barracks," Quinn said. "This guy sodomized me there."
Later, when he was about 11 or 12, Quinn said, he was transferred to another archdiocesan orphanage, where he was molested repeatedly by a priest who would give him $5 afterward.
Quinn said he was later abused when he was placed in a foster home.
From that time until he was about in his mid-teens, Quinn was in and out of various institutions before he ran away to New York City. At the request of Quinn's sister, who was also a ward of the archdiocesan orphanage system, Father Siegele drove to New York to find him and return him to his mother in Philadelphia, Quinn said.
It was on that return trip that Father Siegele took him to the apartment on the Main Line and sodomized him, Quinn said.
Two weeks later, the priest picked Quinn up from his mother's house and took the teen to a cabin in the woods in New Jersey, where he molested him again, Quinn said.
"I was like in a trance when it started happening," he said. "I had no control. I was a little skinny kid, and he was this big, physical priest."
Quinn said he did not tell anyone at the time because he did not think he would be believed and because Father Siegele "told me not to tell anyone or my family would get hurt."
After the second incident, Quinn ran away again. He became a prostitute, a thief, a drug user and an alcoholic. He could not hold a job.
He eventually received treatment for substance abuse in 1986 and began therapy.
"I had a lot of anger, and they told me I needed to get angry at the right people," he said. In 1992, he told his story to Father Lynn.
The archdiocese eventually agreed to pay Quinn $2,000 a month and reimburse him for the costs of counseling and therapy.
In the 1990s, the archdiocese paid Quinn more than $178,000, including about $105,000 over four years in monthly installments. Quinn was also reimbursed for therapy and prescription costs as well as expenses incurred attending numerous seminars on clergy abuse.
The payments ended in 1998 when Quinn accepted $60,000 from the archdiocese and agreed the archdiocese owed him no more money.
Today, Quinn contends he was emotionally distressed at the time he signed the agreement and feels the church still owes him compensation for what has happened to him. He asked that his e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org - be included in this article so others who were abused by clergy might contact him.
"I sometimes feel worthless," Quinn said. "I am disabled emotionally, physically and spiritually because of what these people did to me."
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.